Trucking is a hard industry to break into. Many drivers attempt to make it big and bring in a lot more money by becoming owner operators, but they fail for various different reasons. Sometimes they just don’t put in enough time, sometimes business is just slow. However, the number one reason new owner operators fail is because they either can’t budget or just don’t try to. Learn from our budgeting tips to help you save money to keep your owner operating business going.
How Owner Operators Budget Properly
We understand that budgeting is hard. It takes some self-control and discipline. When the money is there it’s fun and addicting to spend, but if you spend it all you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle pretty quickly.
One of the most expensive things drivers face on the road is food. You may not realize it, but fast food lunches, snacks, and dinners at sit down restaurants add up quick. Before you go out on the road buy your snacks in bulk, also plan ahead by bringing meals to store in your fridge, microwave or cook in a crockpot.
By cooking your own meals and having your snacks on hand you’ll save money and you won’t have to stop every time you get hungry. Plus, the meals you prepare are often much healthier options.
Another expense that adds up is the cost of lodging. Every time you stay in a motel you’re spending money that you don’t have to. By getting a mattress, a nice bedding set, and some blackout curtains you can turn your sleeper cab into a space that’s even more comfortable than a hotel.
Nothing is exciting like a semi truck is. When guys are starting out they want the coolest rig to barrel down the road in. You can get that super awesome new truck one day, but consider starting off in an older rig, or leasing a truck when you first get started in order to have lower monthly payments and sometimes even a lower insurance payment.
Depending on your client there could be a 1 to 3-month wait before you get paid for a load. You could consider using a factoring company to get paid the same day. With factoring companies, you’ll make an agreement where the factoring company pays your invoice from a client. They’ll pay you a percentage of the invoice the same day and then your client will pay the factoring company and the factoring company will keep an agreed upon percentage, then you’ll receive the rest. It’s a way to get money faster, but you’ll get a little less as a result, so budget it wisely.
When the bigger paychecks start to roll in, save them. A lot of guys go out and start to buy fun stuff
for their families and take vacations instead of saving their money. Then when business is slow or their truck needs a major repair they’re out of luck and their business goes under. Trust us, you always need to keep an emergency fund.
We have tips to save your gas because it’s actually your number one expense. First of all, slow down. Actually going to speed limit, or staying at 65 mph will save you tons of fuel. Also, gradually speed up and slow down, to avoid slamming on brakes. Stick to the interstate when you can, unless you need to avoid traffic jams and rush hours. Also, you can save a lot of fuel by cutting down on your warm up, cool down, and idling time.
Take care of your Truck. Don’t get lazy and skip out on routine maintenance. Be sure to change the oil, filters, rotate the tires, and more to keep your truck in tip-top shape. The goal is to get every penny you can out of it to avoid the major expenses of having to buy a new truck or pay for a repair.
You Can Become A Budgeting Pro
By studying your books and keeping track of your profit and loss record you can easily give yourself a budget and start to really save money. It does take a little practice at first, but soon saving money will become second nature to you, and your business will reward you later for it. Nothing saves the day like an emergency fund to help you cover your bills and keep your business afloat.
For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and please share your tips about budgeting in the comment section below.